This paper explores the effect of spatial variability and scale on areally-averaged evapotranspiration. A spatially-distributed water and energy balance model is employed to determine the effect of explicit patterns of model parameters and atmospheric forcing on modeled areally-averaged evapotranspiration over a range of increasing spatial scales. The analysis is performed from the local scale to the catchment scale. The study area is King's Creek catchment, an 11.7 sq km watershed located on the native tallgrass prairie of Kansas. The dominant controls on the scaling behavior of catchment-average evapotranspiration are investigated by simulation, as is the existence of a threshold scale for evapotranspiration modeling, with implications for explicit versus statistical representation of important process controls. It appears that some of our findings are fairly general, and will therefore provide a framework for understanding the scaling behavior of areally-averaged evapotranspiration at the catchment and larger scales.